“Do you believe that God truly loves you?”
Sitting across from my counselor, staring her down a bit, I thought I was ready to do the counseling thing.
I had read somewhere that everyone should go to counseling at some point in their life. So I thought this was a wise decision, especially after several anxiety attacks and this deep anger and frustration in my heart.
What I didn’t realize maybe was that most of the work of counseling is down outside that office, beyond the couch.
It took me a while, but I realized that in order to begin healing, I had to start doing the work. I had to do the homework, and challenge myself to open some of those partially healed wounds. When I began doing that, God started to disrupt things. He began to push me out of my comfort zone, to a place of uncertainty but profound freedom.
One of the first places he started was when my counselor asked me that question.
“Do you believe that God loves you?”
As a good Christian girl, growing up in the church, I knew all the right answers, I knew the right scripture to quote, I knew how to pray in a way to impress people, I knew the songs. On the surface, I could answer that question. I could say, yes, scripture says he does.
Scripture says it but do I—in my heart of hearts—believe it? Do I believe that he loves me at a deep, soul wrenching, unwavering level? Do I believe that He loves me, not just because he created me but because he truly knows me and is my Father?
At that moment, I couldn’t respond. I didn’t know if I really believed that. That kind of answer scared me.
See for years, I have been chasing this “Christian Life” that I thought I was supposed to lead. It looked neat and tidy, it was clean and simple. However, I some how couldn’t achieve it, couldn’t reach that level.
I was always messing things up. I couldn’t get up early enough to spend time with Jesus every morning. I wasn’t disciplined enough, didn’t pray enough and had too much sin in my heart.
Ultimately, I thought I made wrong decisions that led me down this path of singleness and loneliness. I had somehow messed up God’s plan for my life and now I missed out on this “Christian Life.”
What I realize in typing all this out is that somewhere along the way, I got the idea that there was this one way to love Jesus, a formula for living the joyous Christian life.
Slowly I am discovering that there isn’t. God didn’t design us to all live in the same way. In fact, our relationship with him is going to look very different, because he made all of us unique and special. He made all of us one of kind, so our stories are going to be different.
Unique is the way that he designed it. He wove our DNA to be so very different for every person. He placed us each in the womb, and knitted us together from the beginning. He is the great creator, ultimate artist. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:13-14 ESV)
What is even greater is that GOD LOVES US for all those unique and special things he created. Even when we mess up and sin, he loves us. Even when we aren’t super disciplined and avoid him, he still loves us. Even when we run, and try to hide from him, he loves us.
Nothing we have done can separate us from his love.
Nothing we will do can separate us from his love.
Nothing this world will do can separate us from his love.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
But yet we still continue to fight that thought, right?
We still carry our guilt and shame around, thinking that he will reject us if he really knew.
He already knows, he knew before we did, and loves us before and after and through it all.
Friends…. Oh, how I want that truth to soak into my heart and yours.
I feel like I just scratched the surface on understanding this, and want to continue to the day I die, knowing and understanding his deep love for me.
Because when I struggle to love myself or feel rejected by others, I need to be able to stand assured in his love. Isn’t that an amazing concept, that on his love we can stand sure. Because of his great love, we can live in broken world and not be torn down or shaken.
Because his love is so strong, we don’t have to do it all on our own. Ultimately that is the message that I cling to even when I doubt his love for me. That he is stronger than my doubts, fears, and weaknesses.
Friends, we can live confidently in is strength, his power, his grace, and his love for us. I pray that you and I would believe that and when we don’t, we will run to him.